What is the experience of residents regarding mentorship during their otolaryngology residency?
Explore this issue:June 2010
Background: Integral to the educational experience is the relationship between faculty and residents, which is based upon multiple types of encounters, including formal teaching sessions, clinical care of patients, surgical training and research activities. The embodiment of this relationship is the faculty mentor whose potential role includes guidance with clinical and educational aspects, fellowship and career planning, research and personal well being. Despite the importance of mentorship, an understanding of its availability and effectiveness in otolaryngology is limited.
Study Design: Internet-based anonymous survey of chief residents in otolaryngology residency
Setting: New York researchers conducted the survey via the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education website and surveymonkey.com.
Synopsis: Forty-seven respondents completed the survey. Eighteen (38 percent) were assigned an official faculty mentor and 23 (49 percent) were assigned a research mentor during their residency. Thirty-nine (83 percent) reported receiving meaningful mentorship from faculty who were not officially assigned mentors. Overall, 18 respondents (38 percent) were neutral or not satisfied with the experience. Statistically significant higher scores were noted for mentorship in career preparation versus mentorship in research and resident quality of life. Lower scores were noted for availability of mentorship in preparation for a career in private practice versus academic medicine. Residents officially assigned mentors reported statistically significant higher scores with regard to satisfaction with the overall mentorship experience. A limitation of the study was the low response rate and associated potential failure of the sample to accurately represent the entire population. Sub-categorical analysis (e.g., gender, race, future fellowship plans) was generally not possible due to the low response rate and inherent limitations of survey-based research.
Bottom Line: Variability in the mentorship experience was noted indicating that deficiencies may exist, including absence of formal mentorship in some residency programs, and the need for increased attention to mentorship.
Reference: Hsu AK, Tabaee A, Persky MS. Mentorship in otolaryngology residency: the resident perspective. The Laryngoscope. 2010;120(6):1263-1268.
—Reviewed by Sue Pondrom